Formula 1: 5 questions that need answering at Portuguese Grand Prix


Formula 1 heads to Portimao this weekend for round three of the 2021 World Championship, with the 18th Portuguese Grand Prix our latest setting.

It's the second time we'll have raced at the circuit with last year providing a real roller-coaster ride thanks to its undulating nature and fast sweeping corners.

Indeed, it's also an event that Lewis Hamilton will have fond memories of as this is the circuit that saw him break Michael Schumacher's record for most Grand Prix victories and the Briton will be looking to do similar this weekend as he tussles with Max Verstappen atop the standings.

What questions need answers this weekend at the Portuguese GP, though? We take a look at five now...

How will George Russell bounce back?

Perhaps the main headline generated from round two at Imola was the crash between Valtteri Bottas and George Russell with the latter taking a bit of stick over his reaction after the incident.

Indeed, in interviews since he has been a bit more circumspect and it's clear that he has taken on some of the criticism for which he deserves some credit.


He's said, though, that he's going to keep going for gaps if they open up and with there set to be extra spotlight on him just to see how he performs this weekend, it'll be interesting to see how he handles things.

Can McLaren earn another podium?

McLaren had a fantastic time at Imola with Lando Norris arguably the standout performer of the entire field across the weekend.

He was very quick in practice and in qualifying before having a fine race where he out-paced team-mate Daniel Ricciardo to earn an eventual third-place finish.


The Woking-based team is certainly looking strong already this year - will we see them earn another top-three finish this weekend? Sergio Perez and Valtteri Bottas will be among those hoping to prevent that.

Will Carlos Sainz begin to reel in Charles Leclerc?

Any driver will find a new team environment a little difficult when they first arrive as they have to adapt and things are perhaps no tougher than moving to the biggest team on the grid; Ferrari.

Carlos Sainz has done a steady enough job so far for the Scuderia, of course, but Charles Leclerc is currently outshining him - perhaps to be expected given his extra knowledge of the team and car.


Sainz has said he thinks he can match Leclerc for qualifying pace and, after a tough Saturday at Imola, now would be a great time for the talented Spaniard to come good on those comments.

How will Yuki Tsunoda respond?

Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko has never been one to mince words and he certainly didn't after qualifying in Imola as he labelled Yuki Tsunoda 'cocky' for his Q1 mistake that ruined his race weekend.

It was a real come-down from the points finish the Japanese achieved in Bahrain and these are the ups and downs you get in a rookie season.


There's no denying his quality - Marko has also said he'll be a podium-finisher in the next few years - but he'll be eager to show what he's learned from that mistake last time out.

Will we see more tyre-based drama at the start?

The opening few laps to last year's Portuguese Grand Prix provided great entertainment as a low-grip surface combined with cool track conditions to mean drivers like Valtteri Bottas and Lewis Hamilton went backwards as the likes of Carlos Sainz hit the front and Kimi Raikkonen went from 16th to 6th on their softer compound tyres.

Things will be slightly warmer this time around as we're at a different time of year to last season's Grand Prix but, even so, there's still going to be a real need for the drivers to have their slicks as fired up as much as possible before lights out to avoid any repeat.

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